Immigrants have made important contributions to the United States since the founding of the country, providing a critical foundation for economic prosperity through the centuries. Over 40 percent of the 300 million people in the U.S. today can trace their ancestry to immigrants who passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954.
Migration, said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Eric Schwartz, is a constant of the human condition. Government policies and practices must come to grips with that basic observation. This is critical for security, for economic and social well-being, and for the humanitarian values to which the U.S. aspires.
The United States has a strong commitment to enforcing federal laws and policies not only to address illegal immigration, but also to prosecute those who abuse migrants. Determined efforts to identify and prosecute human traffickers continue.
The United States is continually reviewing its procedures for providing protection for vulnerable migrants. Under the temporary protected status statute, the U.S. can permit non-citizens or lawful permanent residents who are in the United States to remain temporarily if their country of citizenship is affected by situations including a natural disaster or armed conflict and return would pose a threat to their safety.
The U.S. believes that governments and international organizations need to focus on the relationship between migration and national development strategies. In order to ensure that returning refugees do not feel compelled to reverse course and seek employment in neighboring countries, international financial and development organizations should ensure that their assistance is linked to refugee return and reintegration programs.
The United States has greatly benefited from legal migration to its shores and will continue to protect the rights of all migrants here in the U.S. and promote the humane treatment of migrants around the world. These are the humanitarian principles to which the United States remains committed.